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The Adventures of Odysseus and The Tales of Troy

Page: 29

'All this time Hector was fighting on the left wing of the battle against the Greeks, who were led by Nestor and Idomeneus. And on this side Paris let fly an arrow that brought trouble to the enemies of his father's City. He struck Machaon who was the most skilled healer of wounds in the whole of the host. And those who were around Machaon were fearful that the Trojans would seize the stricken man and bear him away. Then said Idomeneus, "Nestor, arise. Get Machaon into your chariot and drive swiftly from the press of battle. A healer such as he is worth the lives of many men. Save him alive so that we may still have him to draw the arrows from our flesh and put medicaments into our wounds." Then did Nestor lift the healer into his chariot, and the charioteer turned the horses and they too drove from the press of battle and towards the hollow ships.'A

chilles, standing by the stern of his great ship, saw the battle as it went this way and that way, but his heart was not at all moved with pity for the destruction wrought upon the Greeks. He saw the chariot of Nestor go dashing by, dragged by sweating horses, and he knew that a wounded man was in the chariot. When it had passed he spoke to his dear friend Patroklos.

'"Go now, Patroklos," he said, "and ask of Nestor who it is that he has borne away from the battle."'

'"I go, Achilles," Patroklos said, and even as he spoke he started to run along the line of the ships and to the hut of Nestor.'

'He stood before the door, and when old Nestor beheld him he bade him enter. "Achilles sent me to you, revered Nestor," said Patroklos, "to ask who it was you bore out of the battle wounded. But I need not ask, for I see that it is none other than Machaon, the best of our healers."'

'"Why should Achilles concern himself with those who are wounded in the fight with Hector?" said old Nestor. "He does not care at all what evils befall the Greeks. But thou, Patroklos, wilt be grieved to know that Diomedes and Odysseus have been wounded, and that sore-wounded is Machaon whom thou seest here. Ah, but Achilles will have cause to lament when the host perishes beside our burning ships and when Hector triumphs over all the Greeks."'

'Then the old man rose up and taking Patroklos by the hand led him within the hut, and brought him to a bench beside which lay Machaon, the wounded man.'

'"Patroklos," said Nestor, "speak thou to Achilles. Nay, but thy father bade thee spake words of counsel to thy friend. Did he not say to thee 'turn Achilles from harsh courses by gentle words'? Remember now the words of thy father, Patroklos, and if ever thou did'st speak to Achilles with gentle wisdom speak to him now. Who knows but thy words might stir up his spirit to take part in the battle we have to fight with Hector?"'


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